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Grand Rapids comes from behind to tie with CEC 4-4

Through the first five periods of hockey this season things looked good for the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team. Saturday night they opened with a win over Virginia and through the first two periods against Grand Rapids on Tuesday night, th...

Through the first five periods of hockey this season things looked good for the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team. Saturday night they opened with a win over Virginia and through the first two periods against Grand Rapids on Tuesday night, the Jacks led 4-2. A disappointing third period, however, led to a pair of Thunderhawk goals and eventually a 4-4 overtime tie at Cloquet Area Recreation Center.

Cloquet staked themselves to a 1-0 lead after the first period on a goal by Blake Abrahamson at 6:55 with an assist by Colton Roy.

The Thunderhawks tied the game at 1:37 of the second period on a goal by Patrick Moore, but Paul Ryan answered that tally with a goal for CEC at the 5:24 mark with assists to Nick Anderson and Ben Michaud. At 14:30, Thunderhawk defender Sam Rendle made a strong move to the net that tied the game 2-2, but the Lumberjacks responded just 17 seconds later with a Tony Wilcox goal at 14:47, and Abrahamson scored his second goal at 15:41 on the power play. Abrahamson's goal was assisted by Roy and Chaise Jokinen and CEC left the second period up 4-2.

The third period saw the Thunderhawks come out flying and putting constant pressure on CEC goalie Jordan Thompson. Brad Horsmann scored at the end of a pretty passing play that saw Grand Rapids move the puck quickly into the CEC zone at the 13:33 mark. Then with just 1:21 remaining in regulation, the Thunderhawks tied the game on a goal by John Skrbec.

While neither team scored in overtime, the Thunderhawks out-chanced the Jacks 7-2 in the extra session.

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Thompson played a strong game in the CEC goal, finishing with 33 saves on 37 shots, while A.J. Underwood ended with 19 saves on 23 shots for Grand Rapids.

  • On Saturday night CEC slipped by Virginia 3-2 in a game the Jacks led 3-0 after two periods of play.

"I thought we started that game under control," said CEC coach Dave Esse. "We played a pretty good first period of the year. I thought we got the puck deep and made some simple hockey plays. We also blocked a lot of shots and took angles away from Virginia."
Ethan Johnson scored off a pass from Corbin Morse just 1:41 into the game, giving CEC a 1-0 lead. At the 12:00 mark, it was Colton Roy finishing off a pass from Blake Abrahamson and Jack McFarlane, making it 2-0 after one period.

"I thought Colton Roy played a great game for us and he played like a senior captain," commented Esse. "I thought it was a typical first game. Sometimes the play was good and sometimes it was sloppy, but we showed improvement in the defensive zone with good positional play and some improvement in the offensive zone."

The only goal of the second period was a goal by Roy, his second of the game, at 11:51 with the assist going to Tyler Tollerud.

"I also thought Nick Michaud had an outstanding game for us and it was the best game he has ever played wearing a Lumberjack jersey," recalled Esse. "For how inexperienced we are I thought my coaches did an outstanding job of getting the players ready to play the first game."

Virginia mounted a bit of a comeback in the third period with goals at 4:43 on the power play and at 15:54, but Jordan Thompson managed to stop them from tying the game over the final couple of minutes.

"Thompson was solid in the nets," explained Esse. "Virginia played very hard and scored on that power play and then scored at the end after pulling their goalie. I thought we bent at times, but we didn't break."

Thompson finished with 24 saves on 26 shots, while Blue Devil goalie, Will Lustig made 33 saves on 36 Lumberjack shots.

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"We won and improved in many areas, but we still have a long way to go before playoffs," suggested Esse. "We'll just take it one day at a time, have fun and improve."

CEC is 1-0-1 on the season.

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